• Designed by design

    Mike Buckle

    Imagine the scene: two people are seated at a table in the conference room of a council office or hospital. One wears a microphone and faces a camera. The camera records everything that is said or done as a script leads the way through an app on a tablet. You are not on the set of Mission Impossible. You are a user experience (UX) designer at OCC, exploring how users interact with a prototype application or their existing system. The[...]

  • Oxford Computer Consultants and Infoshare selected to help detect fraud in Warwickshire

    Mike Buckle

    Warwickshire Counter Fraud Partnership select Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) and Infoshare Limited to provide Data Matching Software for Fraud Prevention Warwick January 2016:  Following a competitive tender, Warwickshire Counter Fraud Partnership WCFP are delighted to announce the award of the contract for Data Matching Software for Fraud Prevention jointly to Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) and Infoshare as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) counter fraud initiative. By bringing together and matching a number of key datasets[...]

  • Walk for Parkinson’s – Oxford

    Laura Walton

    Oxford Computer Consultants has long links to Parkinson’s research, being involved with a number of EU projects including Parreha, ParkService, PERFORM, and CuPiD. A group of OCC employees and their families decided to take part in this year’s Oxford Walk for Parkinson’s on Sunday 25th October. On a sunny Sunday morning, Rosalind Ravelli, Laura Walton, John and Marie Boyle, and Reynold and Liz Greenlaw all walked the 4 mile course in under 2 hours. James Greig, Andy Muddiman, Julie Mabbett[...]

  • The security standards you need to consider when handling sensitive data

    Damian Payne

    At OCC we have been building and hosting software that deals with sensitive public sector data for over a decade. But where do you start if you are embarking on a project/business that has sensitive data at its heart? ISO 27001 The basic standard you need to look at for a company in this sector is ISO 27001:2013. You can purchase a copy of this standard online. If you go along this path the one thing I will say is[...]

  • ContrOCC Hackday V – Part 2

    Luke Canvin

    Carrying on from our first post following the results of our developers’ adventures in the most recent ContrOCC hackday, here is the final set of projects: Client Provisions – Julian Alternative storage – Maciej WiX – Matthew DB upgrades with F# – Nathan Generating test data – Nigel New documentation – Steph Automating deployment – Tom G Automating component testing – Tom L Web-based CSV editor – Tomasz A Parsing & Analysing T-SQL – Trevor Julian – Client Provisions As[...]

  • LocalGovCamp 2015 & Local Democracy Maker Day

    Luke Canvin

    Last month OCC took part in LocalGovCamp 2015 and the Local Democracy Maker Day fringe event in Leeds. LocalGovCamp is an annual “unconference” where the attendees set the agenda by pitching sessions, building a schedule, and taking part in the sessions that appeal the most to them. To people used to formal conferences, it might sound a little chaotic, but it works incredibly well and results in a highly topical and engaging event. Sessions ranged in topic from Open Data,[...]

  • How to write a 5 year plan (and why it doesn’t matter if no one follows it)

    Chris Henry

    Tom Litt & I will be attending The Lead Developer conference in September – it’s a new conference with a great line up of speakers covering new and disruptive technologies (of course), tools, methodologies, and, because it is aimed at Leads, also managing teams, motivation and leadership. To warm up I’ve written an article for the conference blog: How to write a 5 year plan (and why it doesn’t matter if no one follows it).

  • ContrOCC Hackday V – Part 1

    Luke Canvin

    Our ContrOCC hackdays give our developers a day to work on tweaks, gripes, improvements, or whole new features of their choosing and then sharing those with the rest of the team. We have plenty of projects to talk about again this year so I have split this post in two; we’ll post the remaining projects soon. Here is the first set: Code analysis – Adam and Tomasz B Database schema documentation via metadata – Alan Upgrade AllTheThings to .NET 4.5[...]

  • Adding a text size widget to your site using CSS and Sass

    Luke Canvin

    A requirement we hear from many of our Government customers is that a sizable number of their users with sight impairment prefer to have a text size widget on-screen when they browse a website. These accessibility widgets are tough to implement cleanly using HTML and CSS but the advent of CSS preprocessors such as Sass and LESS make the job much easier. In this post we’ll see how we can use Sass to create a text size widget. What we’re[...]

  • Research behind Virtual Assay wins Prize

    Janine Smith

    Oliver Britton, a DPhil student in the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Oxford, has won an international prize for his paper on a new computer model of cardiac electrophysiology. The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) awarded Ollie the prize for its potential to reduce the number of animals used in drug testing. He plans to use the prize grant for further research to apply the methodology in neuroscience. OCC has been[...]

  • Compiling Sass with Gulp in Visual Studio

    Luke Canvin

    We love visual studio at OCC. It’s an incredible IDE for software and web development and Microsoft put amazing effort into keeping up with the direction developers find themselves moving. In this case we’re talking front end web development and specifically: Gulp.js – a JavaScript-powered automated build system that uses Node to perform the tasks you find yourself doing over and over Sass – a language extending CSS (that is compiled to produce CSS) to give developers more power when[...]

  • Search engine rankings for Social Care: the 001 Taxi Problem

    John Boyle

    If you’re more than 20 years old you will remember the annual delivery of your local telephone directory; the thud as it lands heavily in your hallway, often with a crumpled cover, a testament to the efforts of the delivery boy to fit the tightly published pages through your letter box. For me, this directory was my first exposure to search engine rankings, with its wonderfully named 001 Aardvark Taxis vying angrily with 001 Ace taxis for first place in[...]

  • Asynchronous processing in SQL with Service Broker

    Julian Fletcher

    SQL Server Service Broker was introduced in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and this article suggests several uses, the most significant of which is probably the ability to do asynchronous processing. Service Broker might be seen as the database equivalent of Microsoft Message Queuing. In this scenario, a synchronous process can put a message on a queue and then complete immediately (i.e. return control to the user). A separate process can then take this message off the queue and perform some[...]

  • ContrOCC Hackday IV – Part 2

    Luke Canvin

    Carrying on from our first post following the results of our developers’ adventures in the most recent ContrOCC hackday, here is the final set of projects: Graphically presenting performance information to the lay developer – Julian Fletcher Cleaning up the developer documentation – Maciej Luszczynski CSV Merger – Matthew Clarke F#/C# – Nathan-Madonna Byers ContrOCC version manager – Nigel Palmer An executable imports/exports specification – Patrick Donkor Improving code integrity checks – Steph Sharp Migration from within the ContrOCC UI[...]